On an anticlimactic night for Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook (32 pts, 15 rebs, 12 ast) garnered triple-double #39, yet faltered (2-of-7 4Q) late.
Leading 69-51 midway through the third, Oklahoma City yielded a decisive 34-16 comeback to Gregg Popovich’s staid crew. This run evened the contest as 4:28 remained. With time elapsing, MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard (28 pts, 8 reb) and All-Star veteran LaMarcus Alrdrige (14 pts, 10 reb) assured victory.
Oklahoma City’s second-half meltdown was due in large part to Steven Adams (5 fouls) and Andre Roberson’s (5 fouls) foul-issues, which prevented the pair from continuing to aggressively limit San Antonio’s prolific-frontcourt duo.
Largely unencumbered, in a total turnabout, San Antonio outscored OKC 52-26 with 18 minutes to play. This hegemony included a +8 rebounding margin as Oklahoma City (32/14/62 shooting, 6 TO, 10 PF) collapsed from the field.
The Thunder’s polarizing performance was starkly contrasted by each half. Billy Donovan’s men appeared too athletic and physical at the outset for San Antonio. However, the 58-win Spurs withstood their rival’s best to prevail with characteristic savvy.
Spurs reserve-standouts Pau Gasol (17) and Patty Mills (10) added double-figures for their title-contending iteration.
Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo (16), Steven Adams (13) and Enes Kanter (11) joined Russell Westbrook in twin-figure scoring for Oklahoma City.
With the loss Oklahoma City (43-32) is now 3-3 in its last six outings.
San Antonio (58-17) is closing in on a third 60-win campaign in four years.
The Thunder next face visiting Charlotte Sunday afternoon.
- Second-Half Disappearing act: The successful execution OKC exhibited through the first 28 minutes completely vanished down the stretch.
- Turnovers: A team with San Antonio’s pedigree will —and did— capitalize on 18 turnovers.
- Foul Troubles: Before encountering foul-issues, physical OKC defenders Adams and Roberson held Leonard and Aldridge to 6-of-22 FG. Though once Adams picked up a quick pair of second-half infractions, San Antonio’s stars combined for 26 points on 9-14 FG.
- Two Different Teams: Through the opening two-and-a half frames, Oklahoma City outscored San Antonio 69-48, while out-rebounding their opponent 33-20. Though, unfortunately, the Spurs ended on a landslide 52-26 scoring run —and 21-13 rebounding advantage.
- Russell Westbrook’s 39th Triple-Double: While his team had victory all but sealed, only to fall apart, Westbrook took another step toward individual immortality by hitting double-digits in pts, rebs, ast.
- Remaining schedule: Though Oklahoma City plays two back-to-backs in seven remaining contests, each of these games is winnable provided the Thunder execute with consistency.